The large margins we're seeing in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals between sister teams, the San Miguel Beermen and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, has become a fodder for loose lips. The Kings jumpstarted by winning Game 1, 127-99, in convincing fashion, and giving their deluge of fans hope for a major upset. But the Beermen came back with renewed zest in Game 2, clobbering the Barangay, 134-109, and squaring the series at one apiece. It was unusual to see the first two games of a Finals series ending up in lopsided fashion with contrasting results.
And when followers of the game felt that routs and huge leads would be things of the past, San Miguel kept its intensity in high gear, demolishing Ginebra, 132-94, as Chris Ross pumped in seven triples that propelled the Beermen to a huge third-quarter surge. Suffering a loss as big as this makes the Kings faithful wonder if their team is resilient enough to believe that they can beat this squad, already described by coach Tim Cone as "the greatest of all-time."
While this series may not be part of what we're doing now, it inspired FHM to come up with a list of the most lopsided Finals series—minimum of three games—of all time. As a preface, there have been five shutouts in a best-of-seven series, and eight in a best-of-five. Here are the Top 5:
2015 Governors’ Cup - San Miguel vs Alaska (4 games)
Both teams wound up tied for the first seed in the eliminations with 8-3 cards, but the Aces swept their opponents in the previous two rounds, while the Beermen needed two more games. Alaska also beat San Miguel, 82-77, in their only face-off before the Finals—many felt this was to be a humdinger. It wasn't meant to be, as the Beermen leaned on the heroics of import Arizona Reid and eventual Finals MVP June Mar Fajardo inside the paint to drop the bomb on the hapless Aces. Alaska lost by 30, eight, seven, and 10 points for a scorching 13.75 average differential. The Aces had a small consolation, though, as import Romeo Travis (who'll be playing for the Magnolia Hotshots in the coming Governors' Cup) was adjudged Best Import of the conference.
1983 All-Filipino - Crispa vs Great Taste (3 games)
Crispa was going for its second Grand Slam, but Great Taste had other plans, especially with reinforcements Dawan Scott and Norman Black. The Redmanizers struggled in the early stages as previous conference Best Import, Billy Ray Bates, couldn't get along well with DeWayne Jay Scales, who was eventually replaced by the more defensive-minded Larry Demic. The two had to go through sudden-death to crack the Finals: Crispa, led by Bates' 44 points, beat San Miguel, 130-120, while Great Taste upended Gilbey's Gin, 126-118, thanks to Ricardo Brown's 33 points. Bates proved why he's the best import of all time, putting on his Superman jersey to average 47.3 points in the three-game Finals. The Coffeemakers' unfortunate loss in Game 1 seemed to have dissipated their energy that they lost Games 2 and 3 by 17 and 20 points, respectively. In the end, Crispa wound up with a 14-point differential to attain its second triple-crown feat.
1983 All-Filipino - Crispa vs. Gilbey's Gin (3 games)
Just how good Crispa was in 1983? With a change of coach and manager (Tommy Manotoc for Baby Dalupan, and Ernesto Floro for brother Danny), plus major adjustments in their style of play, the Redmanizers started off on the wrong foot, losing to Toyota, 86-84, in their very first game off a Nic Bulaong buzzer-beating tip-in. But it only made Crispa hungrier, winning their remaining 12 games in the conference, en route to its first crown that year. They faced a game Gilbey's Gin team, which was no match for the multi-titled legendary team out to prove itself after a 1982 season debacle. Gilbey's Gin lost badly in Games 1 and 3 and was only competitive in Game 2. In the end, the Redmanizers won by an average of 18 points in a scintillating display of firepower from both ends of the court.
2013 Commissioner's Cup - Alaska vs Ginebra (3 games)
Both Alaska and Ginebra were hungry for a championship. The Aces' last one was in the 2010 Fiesta, reinforced by their Commissioner's Cup import this year, Diamon Simpson. The Kings had to endure more, having won its last in the 2008 Fiesta. Alaska ended up No. 1 in the eliminations, while Ginebra struggled at seventh, and had to get past Rain or Shine in two quarterfinal games and Talk 'N Text in five semis games. Aces had a much easier time, beating Air 21 in one QF game and San Mig in four Final Four games. Many thought the Kings' chances of giving coach Alfrancis Chua his first PBA championship was imminent, as import Vernon Macklin was a force, while Alaska had a neophyte mentor in Luigi Trillo. But despite the huge crowd attendance cheering mostly for Ginebra, they couldn't find the antidote to import Rob Dozier and eventual Finals MVP Sonny Thoss. The Kings were swept in three games by an average of 18.33 points difference. This, notwithstanding gate receipt records being shattered in Game 3, when 23,436 fans came to cheer for both teams.
1985 Reinforced Conference - Northern Cement vs Manila Beer (4 games)
Northern Cement was a guest team, bannered by players who were to play in the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) tournament in Kuala Lumpur in a month's time. NCC coach Ron Jacobs was wary of player injuries because of the proximity to the event. The sooner the series ended, the better for them. The road to the Finals was a struggle for both teams, as no team dominated the conference. The Brewmasters earned the first Finals slot by topping the double-round semis, 4-2, while the Nationals had to go through a wringer against Grand Slam-aspiring Great Taste, toppling the latter, 123-107. With hulking Francois Wise dominating the paint for Manila Beer, NCC had their work cut out for them. But through Jacobs' coaching brilliance, coupled with exceptional plays from Jeff Moore and Wise getting shackled by Dennis Still inside, the Brewmasters never had a chance. It was an utter display of dominance, establishing the national team as the best ball club in the land, but more importantly, giving them the confidence and impetus in their final preparation for the ABC crown. NCC demolished Manila Beer by an average of 25.5 points in what is undoubtedly the most lopsided Finals series in PBA history.